HIST 447 The Nikkei Experience in North America

If you need help, please contact Andre Iwanchuk, Liaison Librarian, English and History at 778.782.4304 or aiwanchu@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.

On this page:

Primary Sources: Published (newspapers, government documents and legislation, speeches, memoirs, ... or else collected and published in book form)

You may want to look at the Primary Sources: Definition and Resources page in the History subject guide as well.

Many primary sources have been published and are held in the SFU collection, but searching for them is tricky. The keyword "primary source" usually doesn't work because those words rarely occur in the title of the item. The best approach is to an Advanced Keyword search in the Catalogue. In the first search box put in a topic keyword (e.g. japanese-canadian*) and in the second box put this:

sources OR letter* OR speech* OR correspondence OR diar* OR manuscript* OR narrative

Then browse through and see if there's anything appropriate in your results. Not every hit will be a primary source.

Other tools:

  • The Japanese Canadian National Museum has a webpage which lists some published primary and secondary sources.
  • Use the Globe and Mail: Canada's Heritage from 1844 to find newspaper articles back to the very first issue.
  • SFU Library has local newspapers (e.g. Vancouver Sun) available in microfilm back to the first issue. Other Canadian magazines and newspapers are probably available on microfilm, or we can order copies of articles from other libraries. Some major US newspapers (e.g. New York Times) are also available or can be ordered.
  • The Canadian Periodical Index is a print index which lists articles from major Canadian magazines. Its coverage starts in 1920. Find it in the Reference Indexes section (second floor) at FC 1 C3584
  • Government legislation will be readily available, either in print in the library or sometimes online. See a librarian for assistance once you know what you're looking for.

Primary Sources: Unpublished Materials in Local Archives (letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, photos ...)

  • Japanese Canadian Research Collection at UBC Library Special Collections: visit this page, scroll down to the section on Japanese Canadians, and see the three books which describe what they have in their collection.
  • The Vancouver Public Library Special Collections on the 7th Floor of the central Library at 350 West Georgia has extensive historical material
  • You may also want to explore the City of Vancouver Archives
  • The City of Richmond Archives also has some material.

Primary Sources: Online (a small sample of what's available)

Secondary Sources: Books

SFU Library Catalogue

  • we have hundreds of relevant books
  • start with a keyword search for       japanese canadian*
  • when you find suitable books, look at the Subject Headings to see where else they lead you
  • a good subject heading: Japanese -- British Columbia
  • for the US try a keyword search for      japanese america*
  • look for other suitable keywords which occur in the books you find, e.g. nisei, sansei, specific locations, names of people or events, etc.

See also the lists of secondary sources created by various groups and organizations:

Secondary Sources: Journal Articles

America: History and Life

  • the best search engine for academic journal articles from History journals
  • it also includes history books and PhD theses/dissertations
  • start with a keyword search for "japanese canadians" (use quotes, no hyphen) = 100+ hits
  • "japanese americans" = 1000+ hits; nisei = 100+ hits
  • click the "Expand Record" button to see a short summary of the article, Subject Headings, etc.
  • click the "Where Can I Get This?" button to find out how you can get the article: (a) online, (b) in print on the 6th floor, or (c) order it from another library
  • to narrow a search to a specific decade, go to the Advanced search tab; in the Time Period field enter 1920d for the 1920's; for two decades do this: 1920d or 1930d

Other databases you may wish to try:

  • CBCA Fulltext Reference: searches a variety of Canadian academic journals (cross discipline) plus
    popular magazines and newspapers
  • Depending on the topic you choose, you might want to use databases for other disciplines, e.g. Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, etc. -- from the Library homepage (www.lib.sfu.ca) click on Journal Articles & Databases then locate the name of the discipline from the drop-down menu of the first box.
If you're having trouble, ask for help! SFU librarians help hundreds of students every day with questions about library research. See the Ask Us page for information on how to contact us (in person, email, phone, chat).